Preparing for Hurricane Irma

Preparing for Hurricane Irma

Your Home Builders Association is closely monitoring the path of the approaching storm and the potential effects on our state and our members.

In an effort to provide you members with information on securing job sites throughout the state and protecting your families, friends, pets and personal property prior to any potential weather threat due to Hurricane Irma, the HBA of South Carolina has prepared the checklist and other resources below.

Your HBA is here to provide any assistance that we can in order to keep you safe.


1. Check with local building departments
Many local building inspection departments office hours/inspections schedules may have changed significantly relative to Hurricane Irma. Check to make sure you know their hours of operation and any amended inspections schedule.

2. Secure job site materials
Once it looks like a storm will be passing close enough to a project, it is time for job site personnel to perform critical tasks like securing materials, trash, tools or other debris that can take flight in heavy winds, including items like dumpsters and portable bathrooms. Please reduce your liability by securing any construction equipment and materials that can be thrown around in a heavy windstorm.

  • Prepare to shut down all operations at least 36 hours prior to the storm’s intended landfall
  • Notify your subcontractors that you are calling a temporary halt to all work
  • Store all construction equipment and supplies inside buildings if possible
  • Tie down or band together all equipment, tools, supplies, and materials that cannot be secured indoors
  • Secure construction debris
  • Secure all signage safely indoors if possible or tie it down if it cannot be moved easily
  • Take a few moments to double check that all heavy-duty equipment and scaffolding supplies are properly secured to withstand the conditions a hurricane or strong storm will bring
  • Turn off the access points for all utilities.
  • Make sure that the documentation for your valuables is securely locked awayConsider taking pictures on your phone for additional proof that you have certain possessions

3. Plan for water removal
Planning for water removal also is key. Consider placing pumps in excavations or basements in advance of the storm so that pumping can begin as soon as it is safe to do so. Getting rid of excess water is not only important for project cleanup but also to protect adjacent properties.

4. Ensure the security of the structure
Now that the items on the periphery of the project are secure, it is time to safeguard the structure itself. If the work is a renovation, or if work has progressed on a new building to a point where water can significantly damage the interior, crews should board up any openings and accessible windows and place sandbags around the perimeter.

5. Post Storm Assessment
When the storm has passed and local authorities have given the go-ahead, it is time to return to the project site to assess damage and start to clean up. It is important to use caution when navigating every area of the project site, especially those with standing water, because sharp or jagged debris could pose a danger. It is also essential to use the same care when entering a building after a storm because, depending on the extent of the damage, some structural elements could be compromised.

Be sure to have your insurance agents contact information on hand.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any help. Our prayers go out to each one of you and your families. Be safe!

Mark Nix, Executive Director, HBASC – 803-917-4846 (m) –
Marc Ellis – HBASC Disaster Preparedness Committe Chairman

You also may contact Michael Dey, HBA of Greenville CEO – – 803-917-1701 (m)

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma may pose challenges for Home Builders in the Upstate

By: Michael Dey, CEO, Home Builders Association of Greenville

Hurricane Harvey directed the bulk of its punch on Texas, and Irma is headed our way.  However, Approved Professional Home Builders in the Upstate may not be free of the impacts of these hurricanes.  Hurricane Katrina should be a guide to the potential impacts that Harvey may have in store for the Upstate in the coming weeks.

Fuel prices and availability
The first impact is already being felt, and may continue for days or weeks: gasoline availability and price.  Half of the nation’s oil refineries are located in Texas and Louisiana, and they are all closed.  As a result of the lack of flow, the Colonial Pipeline, the means by which gasoline is shipped to the Southeast from the Gulf Coast, has been closed also. This is the source of half of our state’s fuel.  Gasoline prices have already jumped, and shortages may follow.

Building materials shortages
Following Katrina, building materials, particularly lumber and plywood, were in short supply for several months as these materials were diverted to devastated areas following Katrina.  Approved Professional Home Builders can expect the same with Harvey and Irma.  Texas and Florida get some of their lumber from the same suppliers as South Carolina.  These suppliers are in Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia.

If you are not using an escalation clause in your contract with your customers, you should consider using one.  Your attorney can help you add one to your contract.  Your Home Builders Association can provide you with a sample.  Simply email

Labor shortages
Another issue Approved Professional Home Builders experienced following Katrina was labor shortages as subcontractors traveled to hurricane-effected areas to help and in search of bigger pay days.  No matter the reason, some of your labor may head to Texas and Florida to work on clean up and repair efforts there.

In a meeting yesterday with Federal Reserve officials, labor availability was front and center as the number one concern of business people in all industries.  Labor availability is reaching crisis levels, and Harvey could be a catastrophe that pushes the labor problem for construction in the Upstate to a crisis situation.

Approved Professional Home Builders should plan for these contingencies, and prepare for the customers for possible delays in their projects.